Montana Court Records

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This entry was originally written by Dwight A. Radford for Red Book: American State, County, and Town Sources.

This article is part of
the Montana Family History Research series.
History of Montana
Montana Vital Records
Census Records for Montana
Background Sources for Montana
Montana Maps
Montana Land Records
Montana Probate Records
Montana Court Records
Montana Tax Records
Montana Cemetery Records
Montana Church Records
Montana Military Records
Montana Periodicals, Newspapers, and Manuscript Collections
Montana Archives, Libraries, and Societies
Montana Immigration
Montana Naturalization
Ethnic Groups of Montana
Montana County Resources
Map of Montana


The Montana court records system has records of genealogical value. These records are found in the district courts, probate courts, and the state supreme court.

District courts are districtwide courts that serve as major trial courts. Their jurisdictions cover appeals, criminal cases, debts, divorces, guardianships, juvenile matters, naturalizations, and probates (since 1889).

Probates courts were disbanded in 1889 when their functions were transferred to the district courts. Prior to that time their jurisdiction covered minor civil and criminal matters, marriages, and probates.

The supreme court served as a statewide appellate court. Microfiche copies of state supreme court dockets are available through interlibrary loan for cases dating from 1868 to approximately 1983. Supreme court records are on microfiche at the Montana Historical Society.

The court records can be obtained on the county level at the courthouses in the clerk of court’s office.

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